Friday, March 24, 2006

3/24/06 Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area + Multnomah Falls


 Columbia River Gorge view on WA-14, Washington side


 
 
View on I-84 on the Oregon side


之前只顧著寫國家公國的景點,因此沒將這一天的旅程記載下來。這次特別補上。

Columbia River Gorge(哥倫比亞河峽谷)是長80 mile的峽谷,由美國西北邊最大的河,也是美國第四大的河所刻出來的。從大波特蘭地區開始,往東開就可馬上目睹的自然風景。前一天住在Vancouver, WA的小阿姨家,被他們說服不要花一整天參觀Portland市區,而先往東開。一來,Portland市區不大,能看的東西不多。二來,Portland附近的自然風景區又近又漂亮,所以來玩Portland的行家們也都通常會花時間參觀外圍的這些地方。我們被說動,二話不說,就沿著華盛頓州14號公路(WA-14)往東開。

Columbia River Gorge是在約一萬五千年,由河水刻出來的。當時洪水驚人的水量,立刻從Cascades Mountains中刻出了有一千多公尺深的峽谷。也因為這樣大的高度落差,使山上流過來的支流,要流進Columbia River之前,就變成了一條條瀑布。光在Oregon州,就有77條瀑布之多~~~

過了Vancouver, WA以東的Camus 不用多久,峽谷的景色,便可盡收眼底。Washington州的暱稱為Evergreen State(長青州),也就是說一年四季,都綠意盎然。這一年的春天,也是如此,使得公路上放眼望去,美不勝收。其實Columbia River Gorge不管是從華盛頓州或是奧勒岡州那邊,都可以看到相當漂亮的風景。如果沿著WA-14開,更是可以遙觀對面Oregon的好幾個瀑布。

Technically not owned and maintained by the National Park Service, the Columbia River Gorge was such a pleasant surprise that it deserves special mention.  On this day, our original plan was to explore the Portland downtown.  However, talking to my aunt's family the night before, we were convinced that as Portland is not a big city (still largest in Oregon), exploring the natural scenic areas in the area would be more worthwhile. 

The Columbia River Gorge is a 80-mile long canyon carved out by the Columbia river through the Cascades Mountains, starting in the East around The Dalles and ultimately ending in the greater Portland area.  The Columbia River Gorge was carved out by great floods thousands of years ago, and because of that, there is a sharp drop between the tributaries and the riverbed, resulting in numerous waterfalls.  In fact, the Columbia River Gorge is known for its waterfalls, 77 of them on the Oregon side alone!  More about the waterfalls later.  Also, the river also acts as a natural boundary that separates the states of Washington and Oregon. 

We started on the Washington side first, taking state highway WA-14.  We didn't have to drive very far to start getting good vistas, as we started to gain elevation immediately and enjoyed the panoramic views of the gorge very soon.  Good weather in addition to very green grass makes a perfect postcard picture moment.


Bonneville Lock and Dam

 
fish ladders at the dam
水壩的魚梯


為了留半天的時間給Portland,我們在"The Bridge of the Gods"的地方,便過橋到Oregon州一那一邊。過橋費只要$1.00,所以車上四人分,真的是不痛不癢。當地印地安人的傳說是在遠古時代,這兒有一座天神所蓋的自然石頭橋,後也由它所拆毀。今天所蓋的鋼鐵橋,為了尊敬當地人的歷史,保留這個傳說,便以此命名。

一過橋,可看到Bonneville水閘和水壩。上面所說的那座自然橋哪兒去了呢?今天科學的推論都指向一個巨大的土石流。這也使得Columbia River Gorge某幾處地方有急流,讓行船變得相當困難。當初美國的Lewis and Clark探險隊為了勘測美國的新領土,沿著Columbia River一直向西走,也曾在這兒吃到不少苦頭。Bonneville的水壩除了有發電的功能以外,旁邊的水閘也讓今天行駛的船隻方便。

Bonneville水壩旁邊還有蓋給鮭魚回游的魚梯。差不多八月到十一月是鮭魚回游的旺季。水壩地下的樓層有個窗口可以看鮭魚們在每一階奮力往下一階跳的樣子。可惜這時春天是三月,窗口那兒是一隻魚也沒。十幾年前國中時跟家人是暑假的時候來的,那時除了魚很多以外,前來看魚的人也很多,看魚要跟人用擠的。

We didn't have the whole day for the Columbia River Gorge, as we still wanted some time in Portland.  The Bridge of the Gods was a good place to cross over to Oregon.  The toll was only $1.00, which sure beats the Bay Area bridge fares.  (Granted, those bridges are much longer)  Legend has it that there was a natural bridge the creator made in the ancient times of the Native Americans, and that its destruction created some of the rapids on the Columbia River.  Scientific evidence now points to a landslide.  Anyhow, a modern bridge was constructed and aptly named "The Bridge of the Gods." 

Immediately crossing the bridge, you will see signs pointing to the Bonneville Lock and Dam.  Notice the terms "lock" and "dam."  Besides generating electricity, the locks also help river navigation.  Remember how I said the landslides created rapids?  It's not fun to steer a ship under these conditions.  The Lewis and Clark expedition team sure learned it the hard way.

The Bonneville Lock and Dam is a nice place to stop by, not just because there is a passport stamp at the visitor's center.  One popular thing to see here are the fish ladders, which allow the salmon to jump their way back to the fresh water areas to lay eggs.  There are underwater levels in the dam you can try to catch a glimpse at the salmon.  Too bad for us, it wasn't the season yet.  When I was here with my parents more than 10 years back, I was able to see some many more salmon. 


 s
 (Bonneville Fishing Hatchery)

(Rainbow trout pond.  Beware, they bite!)

 
(Big sturgeon)

既然蓋了水壩破壞了原有的生態,當時的美國人還蠻有愛護大環境的心,將旁邊的魚孵卵所(hatchery)擴建。回游的鮭魚遊進這孵卵所後,母魚的魚卵收集完之,用人工受精的方式,然後再將小魚養大。(據說,這些成年魚,孵卵所的工作人員會以最「人道」的方式將他們處死。反正,這些回游完的魚,在正常的情況下,產完卵後也活不久。」等到小魚隻十幾公分後,會再將他們放回淡水河中。

孵卵所跟水壩都不收門票,所以算是相當不錯的景點。除了可以看他們的rearing pond(養小魚的池子),旁邊有個鱒魚池,可以讓遊客買飼料餵食;飼料的錢,會用來直接經營孵卵所。另外,蓋了水壩,許多鱘魚的生態也被受破壞。因此,這兒還設有一個觀賞鱘魚的區域。要說觀賞,不如說是觀看。這種魚天生長得如此,我真的是無「賞」可言。

Next to the lock and dam is the Bonneville fishing hatchery.  The construction of dams on the Columbia River has no doubt made an impact on the natural habitat of the area, and the hatchery's main function is to help preserve the salmon population from further diminishing.  The fishing hatchery, built in 1909, was expanded since the construction of the Bonneville Lock and Dam in the 1930s.  Salmon swim to the hatchery, where their eggs are artificially fertilized.  After the young salmon grow to a certain size in the rearing tanks, they are eventually released into the fresh water streams.  The hatchery also contains a rainbow trout pond, which is not part of the hatchery's operations, but mainly for viewing purposes.  There is also a surgeon viewing center, and yes, they are huge!



(Multnomah Falls, capturing both upper and lower falls)

終點站是這兒最熱門的景點。Multnomah Falls是Oregon州最高的瀑布,也是美國終年都有水的瀑布裡第二高的。資料上顯示優勝美地國家公園裡的Yosemite Falls是最高的,不過乾旱之年,有時候Yosemite Falls還真會沒水。要說終年都有水,Multnomah Falls是當之無愧。

Multnomah Falls有兩段,上面的一段一百八十幾公尺,下面的二十幾公尺。由於下面那一段不高,公園更是在上下兩段的中間處蓋有一座橋,走個幾分鐘就可走到。在橋上,不論在哪個季節,都可以直接感覺到水飛流直下。這時是春天,整片都是綠油油的。秋天迎冬的時候,葉子轉紅,更是另種良辰美景。


Multnomah Falls was the last stop before returning back to civilization, also the highlight of the trip in some ways.  Multnomah Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the Columbia River Gorge.  Dropping in two major steps of 542ft and then 69 ft, it is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States, after Yosemite Falls.  Although, in very dry years, the Yosemite Falls actually stops flowing, an occasion that I have witnessed.  No matter what time of the year, Multnomah Falls maintains an impressive flowing stream.  If you are willing to walk a short distance, you can hike up the footbridge past the lower Multnomah Falls to experience the upper falls more closely.  Sure to not miss.



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

我去哥倫比亞河谷是相反,在俄勒岡州一路往東,找一個不用錢的橋跨到WA州去. 很漂亮的地方!值得再去!

Deadlockcp said...

嗯,Columbia River Gorge真的很漂亮。有機會經過的話,會再去一次。那一年我們去的時候,是春天,所以那個Crown Point 的Visitor Center沒開。我們有在那兒停留拍照就是了。我沒有放在這兒。

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